If undecided on the Waterfront Park

September 5, 2006

EyeI and the Independent News endorsed the Community Maritime Park early in the process because we saw what similar progressive initiatives have done in Montgomery, Charleston, Savannah and Greenville, SC.

We aggressively fought the misinformation of Save Our City because we didn’t want the park defeated because a voter had not been given the correct information. We couldn’t stand idly by while Marty Donovan, Charlie Fairchild, CC Elebash, Melanie Nichols and others used fear, envy and carefully planned sound bites to influence the vote – $1 year lease, tax increases, no public access, No maritime museum, no public input, just a baseball park, giveaway to Quint Studer.

If you vote No, then do it because you believe a stadium-conference center – maritime museum- UWF campus with commerical, retail, outdoor amphitheater and a waterfront public park that’s paid for by CRA dollars and that will generate millions in lease fees, sales tax dollars will not help the economic future of this City.

If you’re still undecided:

Look at the people involved on both sides. Who is more believable and proven to be more trustworthy over the years?

YES: Adm. Jack Fetterman, Mayor Emeritus Vince Whibbs, Federal Judge Lacey Collier, UWF Pres. John Cavanaugh, M.J. Menge, retired Congressman Earl Hutto, Rev. Hugh King, Collier Merrill, FL Black Chamber Pres. Eugene Franklin, Mort O’Sullivan, Nancy Fetterman, Anna Whibbs, 8 City Councilmen, Mayor John Fogg, Commissioner Marie Young,  Juanita Scott, Bob Kerrigan, Fred Donovan, Bob Hart, Buzz & Debbie Ritchie, Quint Studer, Rev. Henry Roberts, Susan and Allen Pote, Pensacola Chamber, Gulf Coast African American Chamber, over 100 downtown businesses in the CRA,  Arts Council of NW FL, Fiesta of Five Flags, Downtown Improvement Board, WRNE, Pensacola News Journal, Independent News, Pensacola Young Professionals, Pensacola Sports Association, Democratic Black Caucus and hundreds of others
NO: Marty and Helene Donovan, Charlie Fairchild, CC Elebash, Melanie Nichols, EW Hopkins, Bill Smart, P.A. Ucci, Gulf1.com, Tommy White

Look at the political tactics of each side:

NO: Personal attacks on Quint Studer; Email witch hunts and press conferences; charges of Sunshine Law violations, campaign finance violations and bribery –all dismissed.

YES: Probably the most objectionable were the Stop Our City cartoons – but my readers found them the most creative way to reveal misinformation by SOC.

Look at what will happen when each side wins:

YES: Immediate construction on the site. 1500 jobs involved. May be able to occupy first buildings in two years – 2008. FYI – projected completion for moving Main St. Sewage plant is 2009.

NO: Nothing. Donovan, Fairchild and crew had nearly two years after the first Trillium plan was defeated to come up with a plan. They didn’t. While the CMP was holding public forums and getting input, they could have recruited another bidder for the property, but they got no takers. We also have no guarantee that they won’t make us go through another referendum if they do like the next plan. Plus, Fairchild has made it clear that he wants to abolish the CRA next. How will they pay for their waterfront park?

There is no perfect waterfront park plan, but the Vince Whibbs, Sr., Community Maritime Park is damn good one.



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